Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blog Tour! Wild Heat (Northern Fire #1) by Lucy Monroe

Sometimes old flames are the hottest of all . . .
In the quaint little town of Cailkirn, Alaska, it's impossible to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as the unexpected return of Kitty Grant. Tack MacKinnon remembers her wild red curls and even wilder spirit-and still feels the sting from when she shattered his heart in college. But there's a pain in Kitty's gorgeous eyes that guts him to the core and Tack is determined to do whatever it takes to see the woman he still loves smile again-even if it means taking on her demons as his own. After fleeing an abusive ex-husband, Kitty decides that the best way to heal her broken heart is to come back home. But she gets a whole new shock when she sees how undeniably sexy Tack has become. More handsome, more muscular, more charming-more everything-he's impossible to resist. Before she knows it, they're reigniting sparks that could set the whole state of Alaska on fire. Yet trust doesn't come easy to Kitty anymore, and as things heat up between her and Tack, she can't help but wonder if one of them is going to get burned . . . 

My Review:

Wild Heat has intriguing characters, real life issues, and a second chance at love...

Kitty and Tack were best friends...until she met her now ex-husband.  She has not seen him nor spoke to him in years.  When she returns home to small town Cailkirn, Alaska she discovers a connection with Tack that has not dimmed with time.  From the start they spend a lot of time together, and he makes her feel again.  Tack is determined they can only be friends...he doesn't want to lose his heart to her again when she decides to leave again.

Tack is a great friend to have!  The way he cares for Kitty and wants to help her thrive really makes him stand out.  As much as he desires her, he's not going to rush into anything with her.  I really liked Tack...what you saw is what you got, he was open and honest.  And the easy way he had with Kitty was so heart warming!  Kitty has been through a lot, but she was harder for me to feel like I knew.  She has a lot of issues and it seemed to take a long time for the pieces to come together.  I felt like I was muddling through the unknown for a bit too long.  I wanted to understand her better, and eventually Lucy did take me there.  It was wonderful to see Kitty grow and become strong again through Wild Heat.  Kitty and Tack quickly fell into a friendship...both want more, but is either willing to take the chance?

I love the small town feel of Wild Heat and the sensitive, open way Lucy wrote about serious issues.  This made the place and the people believable.  I really enjoyed the secondary characters (mostly family) and the sub plots that only enhanced the main plot and gave me a better glimpse of all of the characters.

Lucy's writing is easy to read and immerse yourself in emotionally.    With a lot of spice, heart and hope, I'd recommend Wild Heat to contemporary romance readers.

4/5 stars 

Buy Links:
IndieBound - http://bit.ly/1EAPF4L 
GooglePlay - http://bit.ly/1Dt10Oq 

Meet the Author

About Lucy Monroe:
A USA Today Bestseller, most of Lucy Monroe's titles have spent multiple weeks on national bestsellers lists, including Neilson Bookscan (in both North America and the UK), Amazon & B&N.com. She is ranked as a top selling contemporary romance author on Amazon. 

Lucy's SM:

Taken (Holton Woods #3) by Helenkay Dimon

Taken (Holton Woods #3)

Book Blurb:

Wade Royer and Elijah Sterling are on shaky ground. While initially reluctant Eli is finally ready to take things to the next level, Wade is hesitant. He senses trouble coming and he’s right. Still, they know their fiercely undeniable connection—both in and out of the bedroom—is worth saving.

Then a man from Eli’s past reappears and the CIA comes calling—and they both want Eli back. With their relationship in jeopardy of falling apart and Eli in danger of a different kind, both men will have to decide what they really want—and then take it…

My Review:

I have really been looking forward to Eli and Wade's story and Helenkay Dimon did not disappoint me!  I love these two characters, they are so different yet so similar.  The connection they have is so easy to feel, and so is the conflict and turmoil they go through as they struggle with their relationship.

I really liked what Eli and Wade brought to the plot, their individuality, and watching them both grow in this fast paced, entrancing novella.  Helenkay's writing made it easy to get sucked into their world.  This relationship is not an easy one, there are a lot of bumps in the road, and I really hoped they could find a way to be together and be happy.

I would recommend reading the first two books in this series as Helenkay gives us glimpses of Eli in Wade in those and Taken builds on that.  I highly recommend Taken to any romance reader who likes m/m romance...although it wasn't just the romance that drew me in, it was their journey.

5/5 hot stars!

Purchase from Amazon.com

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cinderella's Cowboy by Roxanne Snopek

Book Blurb:

Chad Anders doesn’t know why mousy Cynthia Henley trips all over her tongue when she’s around him. Nor does he understand his undeniable attraction to this good girl. Wild and sexy is his type, like the dream-girl he caught a glimpse of years earlier he’s never forgotten.
Cynthia’s superpower is invisibility, especially with men. It’s better for everyone that way. Besides, she’s got a cat. She’s okay. But when playboy-rancher Chad hires her, she’s got a chance to shine. Professionally, at least. Until she learns of his fascination with a mysterious dream-girl, who was actually nothing more than a shy teenager on an ill-advised dare all those years ago. Cynthia knows she’s no man’s dream-girl and never will be.
But there’s magic at the ball. Princesses glow in the starlight, princes appear out of nowhere, and, sometimes, they look a lot like cowboys…

My Review:

Cinderella's Cowboy is a modern day Cinderella story with a twist!  With 2 gorgeous stepsisters, Cynthia has always been the good girl, and always felt like a wall flower...quietly blending into the background.  When Chad shows up to hire their company for his new charity organization, Cynthia couldn't be more eager to soar on the job...nor could she be more flustered around Chad.  A man she assumes is a player, who she shouldn't want but does.

Chad is incredibly, unexpectedly attracted to Cynthia.  When things get a bit chaotic on the job with Cynthia, she shines even brighter in Chad's eyes with the way she handles everything.  He wants to get closer to her, but she is very resistant...how could he be interested in her?

Chad and Cynthia both have self esteem issues, they just show them in different ways.  As they spend more time together the chemistry between them only increases.  Will they trust in themselves and each other and take a chance together?

It took me a while to feel a connection to Cynthia...I would have liked more about her.  I got the feeling she was quite young...I think she and her stepsisters still lived with their parents.  I felt like I would have liked to know more about her background, past relationships, etc. to know what brought her to where she is today.  I felt like I knew Chad better, he was more open and easier to read.  I understood where he had been in life and where he is now.  As a couple they definitely click, but it was more of a slow process.

I really enjoyed Cynthia's stepsisters and her relationship with them and her stepmother.  Because this is a novella we didn't delve too deeply into this, but it worked well.

I loved all the tie ins to Cinderella from the stepsisters to the ball!   Cinderella's Cowboy is an entertaining well paced read with a great message to have faith in yourself and don't be afraid to shine.

I'd recommend Cinderella's Cowboy to romance readers who are looking for a sweet, quick read.

3/5 stars

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Homefront (Homefront #1) by Jessica Scott

Book Blurb:

He's always loved her...
First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.
She's never stopped loving him...
Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he's never been there when she needed him and she's had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.
But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.
Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?
My Review:
Jessica gives us a solid story with powerful emotions in Homefront.  Written primarily from Gale's POV, this is very well done and through this I was privy to his inner thoughts and anguish.  I really liked both of the main characters, Melanie and Gale.  The real life problems faced when someone you love is away at war constantly is very well explored in Homefront.  Jessica brings their feelings out, and really made me care for both of these people.
Melanie and Gale are both strong main characters who have never stopped loving each other.  That is very clear.  Melanie in particular is very cautious about becoming involved with Gale again, and it is their daughter Jessie who helps pull them together.  It was very intriguing to go along for the ride with them, and see if they could have a second chance at love together.
I like the mature characters and the very realistic feel that Jessica brings to Homefront.  I liked how Melanie and Gale were with each other, the connection they had, even after all each of them had been through.  It was a very touching read, and made me sad for all those who serve and the struggles they have, but at the same time thankful for them.
The secondary characters in Homefront are all relevant to the story, and there are some sub plots running through that add a lot of dimension to the plot.  
Through Homefront Jessica gives a very well written perspective coming home from war that will stay with you long after you've finished Gale and Melanie's story.  Well paced and hard to put down, I'd recommend Homefront to any reader who enjoys military romance.

4/5 stars!

Friday, April 24, 2015

His Defiant Princess by Kathleen O'Brien

Book Blurb:

Brenna Tinley has decided to move to the Unified Isles of Cornetta, a fairy-tale kingdom just south of France in the Bay of Biscay to escape the recent tragedies in her personal life. The happiest summer she can remember was spent there, in the arms of a handsome, tender rascal who disappeared without a goodbye when Autumn came…

As fate would have it, the Royal House of Vicenza has engaged Brenna Tinley to clear up a public relations mess. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for this small-town American girl, but there’s only one problem. Her new employer, HRH Prince Ronan, aka her mystery summer lover of long ago, seems determined to pick up where they left off. Can Brenna work in the royal palace and not end up with a brand new broken heart?

My Review:

His Defiant Princess by Kathleen O'Brien took me on a modern day fairy tale adventure!

I loved Kathleen's descriptions of Cornetta and could very easily picture the small island and the royal residence.   

The royal family is refreshingly modern and approachable which made me like the story even more.  Despite having broken Brenna's heart all those years ago, I really liked Prince Ronan as a hero.  I liked his story and how we got to know him so well as His Defiant Princess progressed.  Even though His Defiant Princess if fiction, it really makes you think about the life royalty is obliged to lead.  Ronan has never forgotten Brenna, but neither has he approached her, even with ample opportunity.  He thinks she's moved on well past him.  Brenna assumes Ronan is well over her too.  But the sparks that threaten to ignite when they finally meet up again prove otherwise!

Ronan and Brenna think they can never have a happily ever after together...he's royalty and she's a commoner from the US with a secret of her own.  I liked how they were together...a bit cautious, a bit hopeful, and a bit scared.  Brenna is determined to keep her distance and be professional around Ronan, but this might be a lost cause!  The only question is will she have her heart broken by him again?

I liked the mix Kathleen gives the plot.  The royal family and the issues they are facing, Brenna and Ronan with their past and present together and apart, and a few other secondary characters that really spice up the plot!  Kathleen blended it all well together and kept me entertained, hopeful, and envisioning princesses in my head.

For a well paced, sweet romantic read that will make your heart happy,  I'd recommend His Defiant Princess.

4/5 royal stars!

Purchase from Amazon.com

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stirring Up Trouble (Pine Mountain #3) by Kimberly Kincaid

Book Blurb:

Looking for inspiration...

Sloane Russo's turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane's flat broke now—and she can't channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed.

Gavin isn't the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane's novels. He's raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he's pretty sure he's supposed to act like he's never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well...

My review:

I really enjoyed this visit back to Pine Mountain.  

Sloane and Gavin could not be more different personality wise, but that doesn't stop the spark between them from flaring!  Kimberly does a great job writing these two characters, building their relationship and smouldering a romance between them.  Sloane and Gavin are brought together in an unusual way...he hires her to 'babysit' his 13 year old sister Bree.  Gavin is not too sure about Sloane to start with, but he takes the chance.  Gavin and Sloane are both struggling with aspects of their lives, and neither of them has plans to settle down with anyone.  Sloane has never met the right person, and Gavin has no time for romance right now.  Sloane doesn't plan to stay in Pine Mountain, but while she's there the pull Gavin and her feel becomes impossible to resist.  There is great chemistry between them, but they have very different life plans.  What happens when it's time for her to move on?

I really liked how different Sloane and Gavin were and how they came together, complementing each other very well.  Sloane is doing what she loves to do - writing romance novels for a living.  Her heart hurts because her family is not supportive of her, but she does what is best for her.  I love that quality in a heroine!  Sloane is definitely her own person with her own ideas.  She is strong and independent, she tends to go with the flow of her life.  Gavin is not a man to go with the flow!  He is much more structured, has strong opinions, and is at times very rigid in his ideas/opinions.  This made their professional and personal relationship very tricky and interesting!  At times entertaining, but at other times serious, Kimberly gives us a great mix just like real life in Stirring Up Trouble, and I really liked Sloane and Gavin.  Their differences will either push them apart or help each other grow.

Bree is a very strong secondary character and I really, really liked how Sloane was with Bree...although she's never had kids, the connection she develops and the caring she has for Bree is so obvious and touching.  I enjoyed watching this relationship evolve as much as I enjoyed watching Sloane and Gavin's!  Bree's struggles are so sad at times and my heart broke for her.  I think Kimberly wrote all of her characters realistically, and I felt like they could be anyone I know.

Kimberly keeps a good balance between light hearted and serious issues in Stirring Up Trouble as she explores family dynamics, death and love and how it affects the lives of Sloane, Gavin, and Bree.

Stirring Up Trouble is part of a series, but can be read as a stand alone.  I love the small town setting of Pine Mountain, even if we didn't see a lot of it.  The focus is on the relationship of Sloane, Gavin and Bree, and it works well.

I'd recommend Stirring Up Trouble to any contemporary romance reader!

4/5 stars!

Purchase from  Amazon.com

Still Life by A. M. Johnson Review Tour!

Still Life Banner Tour
Title: Still Life
Author: A.M. Johnson
Release Date: April 13, 2015
Book Tour: April 20 – May 1
Hosted by: SBB Promotions
Loss… a word Elizabeth Haddington knows only too well. Despite the tragedies she’s endured, she’s been able to rise from the adversity she’s faced and begin her life again. Being a self-assured and strong woman, she knows she doesn’t need anyone to make her whole.
HHate, pain, and twisted memories are all Sawyer Bryant’s ever known. He’d slowly lost who he was and what he should’ve become. His only escape was the military… Eight years later, as an ex-Navy SEAL, he’s forced to confront his father and their disturbed and violent past.
Then one day, his life is turned upside down, when he glimpses a woman singing in her car at a set of traffic lights. Thinking he’d never see her again, amazingly he finds her performing with her band at the local bar. This chance encounter brings these two lost souls together. Once Sawyer gets a taste of her melodic voice, there’s no turning back.
For Elizabeth, when she meets Sawyer… she realizes she’s fallen hard. But is this really love she’s feeling or does love build slowly over time?

What happens when fate turns things around on you, creates flashes you can’t turn from… moments that will shape your life?
They are faced with the choice of darkness surrounding them or to rid themselves of the guilt and  pain and move toward the light.
This story is about life’s moments. How they can make you or break you, and one man’s hope that… Love, won’t judge him.
Still Life Teaser 2
Buy Links copy
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Excerpt trans copy

It was unseasonably warm for late September, with the windows down in my car I enjoyed the dry breeze as I pulled up to the traffic lights. My eyes were drawn to the car next to me. She was enjoying the warm spell too. Her windows were down and she was blaring some unknown music from her stereo. The side of my mouth pulled into a grin as I watched. She didn’t notice me watching at first. She sang freely, her voice strong and beautiful. The song was feminine and the guitars were light. She had long very dark hair pulled into a high ponytail. I was transfixed.
Suddenly, she started and bit her bottom lip. Her once tall posture and confidence waned. Slowly, she glanced over to look at me, chagrin written all over her face. I couldn’t tell, was she blushing? She was embarrassed to have been caught that’s for sure, her solo concert abruptly ended. I gave her a huge smile. She just bit her lip again and looked forward, sinking into her seat. I watched as she fidgeted uncomfortably, waiting for the light to change. She was so pretty. No, not pretty, but plainly beautiful. I suddenly had a crazy urge to call out to her, ask her name when she sped off. The car behind me honked their car horn and I was sharply pushed from my reverie.
I pulled into my apartment complex. I felt dejected. I wanted to see that girl again.
I focused on that memory while I looked down at her in that hospital bed. I tried to stop the bleeding, she’d lost so much blood. She was here now, eyes closed, her silky hair ran through my fingers. This small touch caused shivers to run up my spine. I placed a small kiss on her cool cheek. Resting my forehead against hers, her breathing light and steady, blew against my lips. We’d get through this. We had to, there was no other choice…
Still Life Teaser 1

My Review:

The blurb for Still Life pulled at me, and I am glad I took the emotional roller coaster ride I did while reading Still Life by A. M. Johnson.

These two main characters, Sawyer and Elizabeth, have both been through so much, have so much hurt, and are so lonely that the instant connection between them was such a good feeling.  The feelings are real and the journey Elizabeth and Sawyer go through in Still Life captivated me.  I really liked both of these characters...their connection, their chemistry, and how they are working through things.  I felt like I knew Sawyer and Elizabeth through A. M.'s writing.  Sawyer really got to me, with all he's been through and the way he is now...responsible, protective, and trying to move forward.  Nothing is easy in this relationship, but I liked that they both might find good and happiness after all the bad.  The ultimate choice will be theirs.

The secondary characters are great in Still Life, they add a lot of dimension and believabilty with all the dynamics they bring to the plot.

A. M. Johnson writes a book with a great pace that definitely held my interest.  With a mix of emotions, I liked how A. M. wrote about touchy subjects with sensitivity.  This was well done.

Finding second chances, happiness and strength, Still Life is a great read I'd recommend to romance readers looking for an emotional adventure!

My rating: 4/5 stars

href="http://open.spotify.com/user/12150951606/playlist/3LvntClaSpKWkI77snTVrR">Spotify trans

Author Bio Trans
Amanda Marie Johnson was born and raised in Valrico, Florida. She’s now surrounded by mountains with her husband and three children in Ogden, Utah. She attended Weber State University and graduated with her A.S.N. She is a full-time registered nurse and works on the mother/newborn unit. Reading and writing have always been something she is passionate about. She loves to write about the human experience, love and happily ever afters. Still Life is her debut novel.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Don't Walk Away by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

Book Blurb:

He wants to rock her world—in bed and out of it

For former Army Ranger Dean Colter, sexual escapades and wild flirtations are the norm—but it wasn’t always that way. Years ago, the DreamMakers co-owner was a one-woman kind of guy until he tore Emma Lee’s heart apart. Yet he’s never forgotten her, and when Emma waltzes back into his life, a second chance is suddenly within his reach…and he’ll be damned if he’ll screw up again.

She wants her world to stop spinning apart

Emma’s no longer the na├»ve girl she used to be. Now a successful designer in the fashion world, she refuses to let Dean’s killer smile and sweet-talking ways distract her from her goals. But being the target of Dean’s full-out seduction isn’t easy to resist, even as the dynasty she’s built teeters toward disaster. This time she might the one who breaks both their hearts when she has to walk away. 

My Review:

I really liked how Vivian and Elle set the scene for the initial part of Don't Walk Away.  It's a fun one that made me dive right in!  A second chance at love, this time as adults, is what Don't Walk Away is all about.  I really enjoyed the fast pace, the characters and the chemistry between them.  After years apart, the chemistry is just as strong, if not stronger.  Emma is still nursing a broken heart though, and Dean is going to have to find a way to prove to her that he won't walk away this time around if she will only take the a chance with him.

I liked both of these characters.  They have both obviously matured from the teenagers they were.  Emma has done well for herself, even if her professional life is a bit chaotic right now.  Seeing Dean in San Francisco is unexpected, and brings back a lot of old heart ache.  I didn't like how she still held a grudge, especially when Dean had tried to contact her previously, but her character showed strength and maturity in that she didn't dwell on it too long and was able to move away from that and into life today.  I liked how she didn't immediately cave to the combustible attraction between them, but was cautious.  Even when her feelings for Dean were still so strong.    Dean has quite the reputation as a lady's man, and it's something he's out to prove is no longer true.  He is determined, romantic, and wants to be with Emma again...even before he knew who she was he was hot for her.  I like how both of these main characters don't pretend to be someone they're not, they are honest about things, everything is out in the open now.

I felt like the length of the book was perfect for Dean and Emma's story.  It wasn't a story that needed to be dragged out or explored indepthly...it just was.

There are a lot of secondary characters in Don't Walk Away with sub plots and various POV's being told.  I'd recommend reading the first two books in this series first to understand them all.  I liked the connection between all the characters and their friendship.  The opening of Don't Walk Away was just as fun as the ending!

With a mix of humor, love, and real life, I'd recommend Don't Walk Away to any romance reader who likes a lot of heat between characters looking for a second chance at love together.

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

Caught Up In You by Kim Boykin

Book Blurb:

After attending her baby sister’s destination wedding, Shelby Worthington decides she’s ready to do some husband hunting of her own. The only problem? She’s still insanely attracted to Declan Enright, her high school and college crush. He’s now a wildly successful painter who’s temporarily back in Magnolia Bay, but Declan should be Shelby’s last choice for possible husband material. He didn’t earn the reputation of runaway groom for nothing…

Declan has worked hard to make his mark on the New York art scene and has succeeded at everything he’s ever done…except love. But Declan has come back to the Bay to change that and care for his dying father, even if he’s still never forgiven Declan for leaving the family business. Shelby is determined to steer clear, but while her lips keep saying no, her heart is pounding out yes each time she and Declan are together. While she can’t deny her attraction, Shelby’s convinced that Declan’s track record means he will break her heart. Or has Declan changed for good, and made love worth the risk?

My Review:

Caught Up In You is an engaging, fast paced read in a great setting.  I love the small town and the ocean.  Kim's descriptions made me feel like I was part of this place.

Shelby's home is Magnolia Bay.  She is happy with her life and has no plans for forever with anyone.  There is one man she's never really gotten over though...

Declan is back in Magnolia Bay temporarily because his father is not well.  Declan can't settle, and has never been fully committed to anyone.  He's known Shelby for years, even if they had lost touch, and there is a definite chemical attraction between them when they meet up again.  They both want very different things, but spending time together brings them closer than either of them imagined.  Shelby just might be the woman Declan will commit to, but will Shelby take the chance?

I liked both of these characters, but found Shelby more difficult to know and understand.  Declan found his way into my heart, especially after all he's been through with his father.  He still loves him, has uprooted his life for him, and wants to be there for him.  This is not an easy journey and I really liked how Kim made the family dynamics such an important part of the main plot, the relationship between Declan and Shelby.  Kim brought her characters to life with their rocky journey and made them believable.  I liked the dual POV and that Shelby and Declan have a distant history - it made their quick romance one I could believe happened.

I liked the secondary characters, they added a lot of dimension to Caught Up In You.  Especially Declan's Dad and Shelby's sister Chelsea.  I do hope to hear more of Chelsea's story in the future!

Learning to trust, following your heart, and opening up to second chances is a strong theme in Caught Up In You.  Well paced and easy to read, I'd recommend Caught Up In You to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

The Billionaire's Bid by Kaira Rouda

Book blurb: 

Handsome tycoon James Putnam is acting CEO of his family’s logging company, Putnam Industries. He needs to land a big deal to prove to the board he’s capable of taking over the company. If not, his father’s right-hand-man Walter is more than willing to fill the role. James hurries to Indigo Island alone, certain he has what it takes to land the deal.

Aubrey Templeton is a gorgeous magazine reporter facing a mountain of debt after her parents’ tragic deaths. The only asset she has to leverage is 2,500 acres of land on Indigo Island. She hires Dirk Cooley, a forester, to create a forest management plan for her family’s land and to solicit multiple logger bids to lease the land. Aubrey makes sure James Putnam’s company is included. Aubrey and James shared a night she’ll never forget and she’s certain, once he sees her, he’ll want a repeat as much as she does. What she doesn’t know is that Dirk’s goal in life is to destroy the Putnam family and he doesn’t care who goes down with them.

Will James recognize Aubrey as more than a sexy landowner? Could she become a partner in both love and business? Will they uncover Dirk’s plot before it’s too late? Will they recognize the common roots that lead to love?

My Review:

I like how Kaira seamlessly brings environmental issues to the forefront in The Billionaire's Bid, making it a well rounded, interesting romance!

The hero and the heroine are both easy people to like.  Aubrey is much stronger and smarter than she at first came across to me.  She's had a difficult year and is feeling ready to move on from it now.  It was kind of funny how she was so fixated on one night one year ago she had with James...and he can't even remember it!  After her initial hurt and disappointment, I liked how she just let it go and even managed to joke about it.  She really showed true character maturity not only in how she didn't dwell on this and hold it against James, but how she dealt with everything thrown at her over the year and in present time.  I really liked James too.  He has had a year of self discovery and following a more positive path, and his business on Indigo Island will give him a chance to prove a point not only to the board of his family's business, but to himself.  There is tension and the unexpected thrown at him and I liked how he dealt with it.

There is a palpable attraction and chemistry between James and Aubrey and I liked being along for the ride as Aubrey and James got to know each other as they felt out the future.  Kaira really held my interest as I read on to see how things would or would not work out for them and the island community.

Kaira really gives a good small town feel in The Billionaire's Bid, and how they can not only pull together, but pull people apart too.  I liked the quirky, good and bad secondary characters that added zest and a real individual feel to The Billionaire's Bid.

Part of the series (Indigo Island), The Billionaire's Bid can definitely be read as a stand alone.  I'd recommend The Billionaire's Bid to any romance reader looking for a quick, well paced read!

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Second Act
by Marsha R. West
Series: Second Chances, #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher:  MRW Press LLC
Cover Designer:  Charlotte Volnek
Release Date: March 27, 2015

When a member of the board of a non-profit arts agency in Fort Worth turns up dead, the homicide detective assigned to the case looks at everyone involved in the organization, including the Executive Director.

Addison Jones Greer, divorced mother of two teens, is the Executive Director of Cowtown Theatre. When a board member is found in the costume room murdered, suspicion rests on everyone involved with the theatre, including Addie. She has angered some board members because she wants to fire the Artistic Director. Although she’s warmed him several times, he continues to go over budget for productions.

Mike Riley, Fort Worth homicide detective, hates that he caught this case. His sister-in-law dragged him to a theatre fundraiser where he met Addison, the first woman he’s wanted to pursue a relationship with in a long time. Not about to happen now.

Addison hasn't ventured into romance since she caught her now ex-husband in their bed with his secretary. As a result she doesn't do trust. How could she trust someone who seems determined to think she’s capable of murder? Or worse, thinks her kids might be involved.

SECOND ACT is Book 1 of the Second Chances Series. We meet four women, now in middle age, who've been friends since they met at summer camp after second grade. Whether they realize it or not, they all need a second chance.

Monday, September 24
     “You promised this wouldn't happen again, Clay.” Addison Greer glared at the man sitting across from her in her Cowtown Theatre office, the pitch of her voice higher than she intended. She hated confrontations, but those red numbers marching across the spreadsheets covering her desk made her stomach roil and her hands shake.
     “Yeah, I know, Addison. I needed more wood than I’d anticipated. After we put the first set together, it didn't work out, and we had to start over. It wasn't my fault.” His leg draped over the arm of the chair as if he had no worries, but his voice had taken on the whiny tone that sent Addie’s blood pressure into the stratosphere.
     Her fingers tightened around the marker she’d used to highlight the deficits. “No? Then whose? Going over budget isn't an option, Clay. The theatre can’t survive this way, and since you can’t change, you won’t make it here either.” Addison hated to put it that way, but damn, she’d been plenty patient with Clay Bennett, the theatre’s artistic director.
     “What do you mean, I won’t make it. Are you threatening my job?” He set both feet solidly on the floor, jutted out his chin, and clenched his hands on the arms of the chair.
     Good thing she wasn't alone in the building with him. She suspected he’d like to take a swing at her. The first show of the fall season closed last night, and crewmembers were working all over the place disassembling the set, cleaning the costumes, and evaluating make-up needs.
      “That’s exactly what I mean, Clay.” The steel in her voice was unmistakable.

     “And this is my brother-in-law, Mike.” Cindy pulled him forward.
     Now those blue eyes fastened on him as they had his brother. Mike’s pulse skipped a beat. Hell. Why had he worn his stupid boots? He wished he had on a highly polished pair of shoes like the ones Pat wore. Even one of those strangling bow ties. Anything to make him seem acceptable to this woman.
     “Cindy mentioned that you’re a detective.” Addison emphasized the job title.
     “Yes, ma’am.” Mike held the woman’s hand longer than necessary, too. She was gorgeous, and the warmth sent from her sparkling eyes and smiling face spread through him. If he’d worn his western hat, he’d have yanked it off and fiddled nervously with the brim.
     “You and Pat certainly chose very intense professions.”
     “You might say.” He was like a teenager with his first crush. A waiter passed by, and he set his half-empty glass on the tray. Wouldn't do to drop it. He’d look like the ass he felt.
     “You didn't finish your champagne, detective. Don’t you like it?” A small crease formed between her eyebrows, apparently worried the champagne they’d chosen for the fundraiser had failed to find favor with him. She tipped her head, waiting for him to answer, as if it was important to her.
     “Well, ma’am, I just prefer beer.”
     A laugh burst from her mouth, and the corners turned upward, a small dimple winked at him. The laugh morphed into a giggle, which she tried to smother with her fingers. Fingers he’d love to taste, as well as her rose-colored lips.
     “I’m so sorry, detective. I’m not laughing at you.”
     “No?” He couldn't help but smile at her, even if she was making fun of him.

The plot of Second Act is interesting and catchy.  I like it when the author can write it so that the reader knows the who, but not the why, and still manage to hold the readers interest - which is what Marsha has done.  We go along for the journey as the mystery is unravelled for the characters in Second Act, and there are all sorts of turns that even had me questioning what I thought I knew. 

The main characters are unexpectedly attracted to each other, but circumstances force them to keep their relationship professional.  This can be a challenge and it was intriguing to watch them try to do this, and fight their attraction.  I like that they are both more mature characters, and the relationship issues are believable for a mature couple because there is so much more going on than just the two of them!

Addison in particular has a lot going on in her life from her job to her kids.  Addison is a good main character, but she was difficult for me to relate to because of some of her characteristics.  She seems a little too trusting, a little too naive at times for a mature adult woman with life experience to draw on.  I did feel like I got to know her well though, and I did like how she evolved in Second Act.  I really liked our hero Mike.  He is determined to do the right thing, even if he feels conflicted...until tragedy strikes again, then will he follow his heart?  I liked the conflict he went through and watching how he dealt with it and tried to come to terms with possible outcomes.

The title of this story, Second Act, is so appropriate for the plot and general setting!  Second Act is primarily a mystery book with romance elements woven in at times where it fits with the plot.  I liked how this was done and that neither the romance or mystery overwhelmed each other.

There are a lot of secondary characters in Second Act who are great supporting characters, each with a little something to offer up, pulling you in and adding great dynamic to Second Act.  I look forward to seeing more of these people in future books in this new series.  I'd recommend Second Act to any reader looking for a good mystery with some romance to spice it up!

Monday, April 20 - Peaces of Me
Wednesday, April 22 - nerdychampagne
Thursday, April 23 -Love In Danger
Friday, April 24 - Semi Short Chic

Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. Marsha lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren who live nearby. A new dog, Charley, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier recently adopted them.

MuseItUp Publishing released her first book, VERMONT ESCAPE in July 2013 and her second book, TRUTH BE TOLD, in May 2014. In the fall of 2014. Marsha formed MRW Press LLC to provide a print version of her books. VERMONT ESCAPE is available at Amazon in print or from her in person.  SECOND ACT, Book 1 of the Second Chances Series, follows up with a secondary character from VERMONT ESCAPE and begins a four-part series.

You can contact her at marsha@marsharwest.com and catch her blog on her web site http://www.marsharwest.com. She’d love to hear from you.